There appear to be gender differences in the prevalence, morbidity and severity of asthma, with variations across the lifespan. Asthma is a chronic obstructive airway disease that occurrs more frequently in adult females. The objective of the survey was to determine whether respiratory therapy students (SRT) and registered respiratory therapists (RRT) who may deal with adult asthmatic patients are aware of the sex and gender differences that exist in this disease.
A survey was conducted with 175 subjects. Four different groups were surveyed: first-year, second-year, and third-year SRTs from the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences and RRTs from hospitals in Toronto.
There was a 78% response rate. Out of all the respondents, 25.3% thought that asthma was the same in males and females, 24.7% thought that more males had asthma, 21.4% thought that more females had asthma, and 28.6% did not know. The second year SRTs and RRTs had the majority choosing males as having asthma more than females. The third year SRTs were the only group that identified women as having asthma more than males.
Sex and gender differences of asthma in adulthood are still relatively new areas of research. SRTs and RRTs may not be aware of these differences, which may lead to misdiagnosis, and sub-optimal treatment and management plans for the female asthmatic population.
More research in this area is needed. Updated school curricula should reflect emerging issues to provide the best treatment possible.
Wendy Lopez, None.